Friday 23 September 2011

Reasons for radio silence...

My beloved laptop was officially declared dead as a dodo on Sunday, which is one of the reasons I've been a bit quiet recently.  I'm writing this at the library, but being a technical idiot, I'm afraid these few paragraphs are the best I can offer when it comes to blog posting skills outside the home.  Even though I've got tons of things to share with you (new fabric purchases for starters) and show off about (recently finished sailor trousers), I'll be taking a short break from blogging until my new computer is delivered and installed.  This also coincides with my having to undergo a minor op next week (nothing serious, honest!)

I'll be back once we're both (the computer and I) back up and running.  Don't go away though, once I'm back I'll be celebrating my one year blog anniversary with the best giveaway ever. Looking forward to catching up with you all then.  Have a lovely weekend. Jane x

Sunday 11 September 2011

Autumnal Traveler Dress

I’m back at the sewing machine and loving every minute of it!  So here’s the first of my autumn makes: the Lisette Traveler Dress, view A.  

I used my 1930’s-look floral charity shop fabric and was very sceptical as to how it would turn out.  Having now strutted around in it for a day, I’m finally getting used to it, but more on that later…. 

The Lisette 2246 Traveler Dress pattern is a lovely, lovely pattern to sew. It’s brilliantly drafted and the instructions are a delight – clear, simple and workable.  I can see what other bloggers are talking about when they wax lyrical about Lisette patterns - I can’t recommend this one highly enough.

Having heard that these patterns run quite large, I cut a size 12, even though my measurements actually belong in the size 14 column.  I also decided to try the Miss Petite option on the pattern, which basically takes in a one inch tuck right across the pattern pieces, shortening the bodice length as well as the actual finished dress length.  This was a good move as the final fit of the dress is just what I wanted – fitted but casual.  I did a tissue fitting on my dummy and the only bit that slightly worried me was the bust.  In the end it just about fits across the bust but it’s a close call.  I could probably have done with an extra inch or two in that area but it doesn’t gape open so I can live with that. Sewing it together was a dream, there wasn’t one bit that didn’t make absolute sense and I even learnt a new skill - how to make shaped pockets.

The vintage fabric is great to sew with – it barely frayed at all. It has quite a weight to it - almost like a quilting cotton – not drapey at all, but that actually works well with the style of this dress. I finished the dress off with cream vintage buttons from my stash (the red ones I originally chose became completely lost in the busy floral of the fabric).

It works well with a belt too
So back to the fabric …. it’s not so much the floral overload that the jury’s out about (I love floral prints, especially 1930’s inspired ones, and have sewn a lot with them), it’s more the colours.  Those of you who have followed my blog for a while know I’m not exactly known for my adventurous colour selection.  In fact if I was told I was only allowed to make clothes using navy, blue/green, grey and red fabric forever, it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest.  This fabric has colours that don’t ever appear on my radar: pink, purple and, wait for it, orange.  All warm hues when my personal colour palette is cold, cold, cold.  Despite all this, I’m still drawn to the fabric and the style of the dress is very me, so I know I’ll wear it a lot this autumn.  Now I just need to buy co-ordinating tights in every hue …. x

Monday 5 September 2011

Chic on a Shoestring

Helloo!!  I’m now back from my fabulous holiday, where I spent a relaxing week making sandcastles and not much else, pure bliss.  Now we're back though, I'm literally counting the hours until my two go back to school so I can get cracking with some sewing.  In the interim I’ve been catching up on my sewing book reading.  I’m a tad impulsive with sewing books and tend to order them in a mad frenzy; some of the time I’m disappointed, but I struck lucky with my latest purchase.

Chic on a Shoestring is the sort of book you can sit down with, cup of tea in hand and be inspired to want to try every single project in it.  The book is exactly what the title suggests.  Written by ex-milliner and vintage lover Mary Jane Baxter, it shows how you can give your existing clothes and accessories a vintage-style look with bits of haberdashery from your stash.  There are also tons of ideas for refashioning existing pieces. My favourites are the simple scarf turned into a halter neck top

and the glamour-puss turban made from an old T-shirt, both just gorgeous.

I’ve mentioned before on this blog how little vision I have when it comes to refashioning clothes, so this is the perfect book for me.  If you like vintage style or you simply want to breath new life into frumpy old clothes, then this book will almost certainly have a stylish solution.  Bored with your old cardigan?  Just change the buttons for vintage ones.  Easy peasy.

I’ve already completed my first project: a retro headband:

Once the pieces were cut out, it probably took about 15 minutes to sew together and although I think it would look better with a vintage buckle (which sadly I didn’t have knocking around) I’m pleased with how wearable it is.
I might add a buckle when I find one, to give this headband more of a retro look

Chic on a Shoestring is a lovely book.  Well written with clear instructions and packed full of beautiful, easy-to-make projects, it's definitely one for the sewing room bookshelf.  Happy Monday everybody. x


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